Risk of a disaster : risk knowledge, interpretation and resilience
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Knowledge and interpretation of local risks are essential in disaster mitigation. Auckland’s exposure to multiple hazards is a source of national concern. Considering the multiplicity of natural hazards in Auckland, investigations on how communities can enhance their resilience to possible disasters have become imperative. Convincing individuals to embark on activities that would reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards is difficult, especially in communities that have not recently experienced the impact of natural hazards. This research investigated risk knowledge and interpretation in the South African community in Auckland. Data for this study were collected from both primary and secondary sources. A questionnaire was distributed amongst the South African population, and follow-up interviews with participants constituted the primary sources of data collection. Other sources were materials in the public domain. Regarding data analysis, an independent-sample t-test and Spearman’s correlation analysis were used to analyse the quantitative research data. A general inductive approach for qualitative data was used to analyse the research interviews. The research confirmed the subjectivity in risk perception and also revealed a high-risk perception, especially for earthquake, flood and tsunami. Whilst this study agreed that there is a relationship between risk perception and preparedness, such relationship is often contextual. The research concludes that risk perception could contribute to disaster resilience if communities appreciate the impact of a natural hazard irrespective of disaster experience or otherwise.